Many students struggle with budgeting and managing their finances while going to school. It’s a normal part of student life as not many students can pay for their education without taking out a loan or line of credit, or working at least part-time during the school year.
This can be a significant source of stress for students and certainly does nothing for our focus and concentration!
If you’re worried about your finances, here are some ideas for helping you take control of the situation so you can feel less stressed (preferably sooner than later!):
- Create a plan. When it comes to finances, information is power. So take avoidance off the table as a coping strategy. Make a date with yourself to sit down and go over what you spent in the last month and plan a budget going forward. Force yourself to look at the hard numbers and keep in mind that money comes and goes. You will (presumably) be working and making money eventually so you can worry about the details of paying back any money you owe then. For now, you need to think about how much money you have to work with for the remainder of school.
- Enlist the help of an expert. If you’re feeling overwhelmed going through your finances (or even just thinking about starting to), see if you can make an appointment with a financial advisor where you do your banking. Don’t be nervous — they meet with clients all day, every day so this is hardly something new for them! Just be honest about your concerns. You will likely feel much better after talking with them and coming up with a plan.
- Look into student-specific resources . Red River College’s Student Awards and Financial Aid office offers a number of scholarships and bursaries that you may qualify for. If you don’t have a student loan already, it could be worth looking into Manitoba Student Aid (you can apply for a student loan throughout the year). Manitoba Student Aid also offers grants and loans that don’t require immediate repayment while you are a full-time student.
- De-stress. After trying one or all of the above, it’s a good idea to do something fun or relaxing to help reduce your stress levels. There are lots of things that you can do that don’t cost money. It can be as simple as getting some fresh air with a friend or using the fitness facilities at RRC. You can also check out the free entertainment and events happening downtown or in your area.
- Talk about it . Don’t ignore the stress you’re feeling. The problem and your uncomfortable feelings won’t go away until you work through them. If you need some help figuring out what steps you should take first, the Counselling and Accessibilities Services can help. To book an appointment, fill out the online intake form and someone will contact you to set up an appointment.